Which Edition of Microsoft Visual Studio to Use

Microsoft Visual Studio is available in multiple versions and editions. To use the .NET API for AutoCAD 2012, you need to use:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0
NoteProjects compiled with Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 with a target of Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 should load into AutoCAD 2012 without a problem. Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 cannot be used to debug projects loaded in AutoCAD 2012; you must use Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 when debugging a project.

If you are using AutoCAD 2010 or AutoCAD 2011, you should use:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 with Service Pack 1
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 with Service Pack 1

If you are using AutoCAD 2007 through AutoCAD 2009, you should use:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 or later

Microsoft Visual Studio is offered in two editions: for free and for pay. The free edition is known as Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express Edition, while the for pay editions vary by name and price due to the different development tools that are incorporated into them. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional Edition provides improved debugging over Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express Edition along with a number of other features. The most common edition of Microsoft Visual Studio used by developers is Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional Edition.

NoteWhile it is possible to use Microsoft Visual Studio Express with the AutoCAD .NET API, this guide assumes you are using one of the other versions such as Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional Edition or Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium Edition.

There are four main advantages to using Microsoft Visual Studio:

  • Robust and accessible development environment that has a modest learning curve.
  • VBA and VB.NET syntax are similar, which makes it an ideal environment for existing VBA users.
  • Visually intuitive and extensive dialog box creation tools.
  • Projects can be built as a standalone executable or DLL assembly which can then be loaded into AutoCAD for execution.
NoteUnlike VBA projects, .NET applications do not suffer from performance degradation when loaded and run in 64-bit AutoCAD.

For more information on the different editions of Microsoft Visual Studio, see http://www.microsoft.com/vstudio and http://www.microsoft.com/express.